Defense Management:

Army Could Achieve Efficiencies By Consolidating Ammunition Management

NSIAD-99-230: Published: Sep 30, 1999. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's implementation of the recommendations made by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's study on ammunition management, focusing on the Army's: (1) progress toward reorganizing the management of conventional ammunition to address the fragmentation issues; and (2) efforts to improve business practices to enhance the operational efficiency of ammunition production and procurement.

GAO noted that: (1) the Army has made limited progress in addressing the problem of fragmented management of its conventional ammunition program; (2) senior Army leadership has been considering alternative organizational structures identified by a study team as a means of addressing the fragmentation issue; (3) however, no decisions have been made because of lack of agreement on where management of conventional ammunition would fit into the Army's organizational structure, and no milestones have been set for resolving the issue; (4) in lieu of an organizational change and recognition of the need to integrate ammunition management, the Commanders of the three commands that deal with conventional ammunition formed an informal coordination group; (5) the Commanders agreed to work together on common activities to pursue the most comprehensive and cost-effective approach to conventional ammunition management; (6) however, the coordination group's decisions are not binding and are dependent on all members agreeing to the proposed actions; (7) although the Army has not resolved the problem of fragmented management of conventional ammunition, it has developed initiatives to improve its business practices to enhance the operational efficiency of ammunition production and procurement; (8) these initiatives have not yet been completed and their outcomes have yet to be determined; and (9) further, the long-term success of these initiatives will depend upon the ability of the informal coordination group to ensure cooperation among all participants and resolve issues of common interest.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of the Secretary of Defense has not issued any direction to the Secretary of the Army to establish timeframes for implementing an Army-wide reorganization to integrate the management of conventional ammunition. The Army has determined that the formalization of the TRIAD, which includes the Commanders of the three commands that manage various aspects of conventional ammunition, will resolve fragmentation issues. The TRIAD has an official charter and they are developing procedures to define the TRIAD's roles and responsibilities.

    Recommendation: Since management fragmentation can only be resolved through changes in the organizational structure and reporting relationships, and because of the Department of Defense-wide nature of the issue, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to establish a timeframe for implementing an Army-wide reorganization to integrate the management of conventional ammunition.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In January 2000, the Army formally chartered the TRIAD structure, as well as a three-star board of directors to resolve issues when TRIAD consensus cannot be achieved. The Army believes this new structure will greatly improve ammunition management and will assist the munitions industrial base to reshape for the future.

    Recommendation: In considering organizational alternatives, the Secretary of the Army should consider a permanent Triad structure as well as other recommended organizational structures.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In September 1999, GAO reported on the Army's fragmented management of conventional ammunition. To mitigate problems caused by this fragmentation, the commanders of the organizations responsible for the management of conventional ammunition established an informal structure known as the Triad to address issues of common interest. However this process depends on voluntary cooperation. Therefore, GAP recommended as an interim measure that the Army formalize the Triad and establish a mechanism to address issues the Triad is unable to resolve. On January 10, 2000, the Army charted the Triad as well as a three-star board of directors with a resolution procedure when a Triad consensus cannot be achieved.

    Recommendation: To facilitate efficient operations, until organizational changes occur, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to put in place a mechanism to address issues the informal Triad is unable to resolve.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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